6 Tips to Write a Better Essay

Essay Tips

Looking for tips on how to improve your essay? You’ve come to the right place!

Whether you’re writing a literary analysis essay, a persuasive essay, a referential essay, a critical review, or something else entirely, these six tips will help boost your writing to the next level and help you create a stronger paper.

Tip 1: Peer Review

Having someone edit your paper will provide you with valuable feedback. Oftentimes, a peer will notice grammatical errors, areas that need improvement regarding content and organization, and places of confusion.

It is important to take their feedback into consideration, because a fresh set of eyes can show you what’s working and what’s lacking. When you’ve read your draft an infinite amount of times, it becomes harder and harder to see what still needs work. A peer review partner can help.

Tip 2: Understand Your Topic

This one may seem obvious, but it is easy to dive into an essay without a fully-developed idea. If you find it difficult to reach a required word count, this may be part of what is causing you difficulty.

Underdeveloped essays may result in weak or empty writing. Every sentence is important, and those that don’t relate to the thesis or those that read like they were added to to reach a required word count will stand out in a negative way.

If you have a strong understanding of your essay's topic, it will be much easier to write it. You may even find yourself overwriting. This leads into our next tip: topic sentences.

Tip 3: Strong Topic Sentences

Whether or not your teacher or professor required you to write them prior to beginning the draft, topic sentences are critical to achieve successful content organization. Determining the topic of each paragraph not only allows you to organize your thoughts, but if done well, it can also aid in the overall flow of your paper.

While there are several different types of essays you might be writing, topic sentences are usually derived from your thesis. Their role is to guide your essay in proving whatever your thesis claims.

Literary analysis essays might focus on motifs, symbols, or other literary devices and how they relate to the novel’s theme. Persuasive essays might spell out reasons why the reader should sympathize with their argument. Whatever the case may be, strong topic sentences are essential for writing a compelling essay.

Tip 4: Eliminate Filler Words

Filler words are those that lack substance and muddle your arguments instead of clarifying them. When filler words are removed, the result is a cleaner and more direct sentence.

Some examples of filler words and phrases include: just, like, so, actually, in the end, really, needless to say, maybe, and seems. While this list is not exhaustive, also keep in mind that some of these words may be appropriate in certain contexts.

Tip 5: Stay Consistent with Tense and Point of View

A credible essay stays consistent with tense and point of view.

When writing formal essays, it is best to use a third-person point of view. The use of “I” can make your arguments appear casual and subjective, when the goal is for them to be strong and convincing. Almost any sentence can be improved by taking out a first-person pronoun.

Tense should also be consistent. Switching between past and present tense can confuse readers and weaken your writing. Different types of essays may differ in tense requirements, so make sure you know which one is appropriate for your essay.

Tip 6: Avoid Perfectionism in the First Draft.

If you’re struggling to begin the writing process, don’t worry about getting every word right.

The editing stage exists to improve what you already have. Your first draft should only be about getting your ideas onto the page, no matter how incoherent or messy it ends up. Everything you write is something to work with later. And chances are, your result will be better than you think it will be if you allow yourself the space to write without restriction.

Hopefully these tips are helpful and you feel empowered to write a great essay! The more you do it, the more you improve. Good luck!

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